May 10, 2010

Piper pitcher’s next start to be most challenging yet

Weaver (Sr., Eagan, Minn.) will study in Dr. Reuben Harris’ lab at the University and will continue research begun while an undergraduate student at Hamline.

“The focus of the lab is on beneficial mutation and innate immunity, specifically for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),” explains Weaver. “The project that I have been working on and will continue to work on as a graduate student is elucidating the binding characteristics of two proteins involved in the HIV infection and replication.”

In the classroom, Weaver, who transferred to Hamline from UW-River Falls prior to the start of her sophomore year, posted a 3.75 cumulative GPA as she majored in biology with a minor in chemistry. She is a member of both the Beta Beta Beta biology honors society and the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honors society.

During her studies, she received the Ruth Sullivan Award given to the Hamline junior biology student of the year and a Walter A. Kenyon Award for outstanding senior biology students.

On the field, Weaver posted a career record of 44-28 with five saves in 86 appearances. Her career ERA is 3.15 and she struck out 259 batters in 452.0 innings pitched. “I owe a lot of my success on the field to the coaching staff here at Hamline. Coach Jim Rubbelke has a lot of knowledge of the game and has been one of the best and most knowledgeable head coaches I have ever played for.”

Weaver also credits her mentors off the field at Hamline for making it possible for her to be successful in both worlds. “There have been several professors at Hamline who have significantly helped me in getting to the point that I am at now. Two of these professors who really stick out are Bonnie Ploger and Irina Makarevitch.”

Makarevitch says of Weaver, “Jessalyn is one of the best biology students. In addition to her major in biology that she completes with Honors, she graduates with Chemistry minor. Jessalyn has an outstanding research record.”

“Jessalyn is an outstanding biology student who was recognized by the biology department for her academic excellence, research potential and service to the department when we awarded her the Ruth Sullivan Scholarship for the outstanding junior biology student of the year, and again this year when she was awarded a Walter A. Kenyon Award for outstanding senior biology students,” adds Ploger.

“When she served as a teaching assistant for me in one of my introductory biology lab sections, Jessalyn was a delight to work with.  The students in her lab section appreciated her clear, well-organized talks and kind, friendly help during the labs.”

The Kenyon Award, which Weaver received at Hamline’s recent Honors Day ceremony, will go towards her graduate education. Additionally, as a graduate student in the field of biology, her graduate tuition is paid for and she will receive a yearly stipend to conduct research. While at the University of Minnesota, she will also be applying for grants to fund her research.

“Not only have I enjoyed my academic experience at Hamline but I have also really enjoyed playing softball for Hamline. Being a student-athlete was challenging, but it would have been much more difficult if I wouldn’t have had such great professors who understood my commitment to my sport and such great coaches who understood the importance of academics,” concludes Weaver.

Weaver goes into further detail about her experience at Hamline, and what her work will entail at the University of Minnesota, in a post available at the “Inside Piper Athletics” blog. The post also features more extensive quotes from Professors Ploger and Makarevitch. To read the post, click here.